INFERNO 2015 – Dark Essence label night – Oslo, Blå

INFERNO 2015 – Dark Essence label night – Oslo, Blå

15 years of Inferno tradition in Oslo is the reason that every Easter, a bunch of metalheads take over the empty city and participate in an event full of great music and most of all great fun. The main event is preceded by a Club evening, where various smaller stages in Oslo are holding 3-4 concerts and represent a good showcase, mainly for labels. As usual, the stage at Blå is ‘owned’ by bands from the Dark Essence Label, a Bergen based label working with some of the most brilliant acts in Norway, in my opinion.

The night was opened by Galar, an melodic/folk’ish black metal band whom I saw live many years ago and who has been very quiet the past years. But in March 2015 they returned with ‘De gjenlevende’, an epic album that totally continues where the previous one left, but takes it some levels higher in class and beauty and my main regret is that I hardly had time to hear it prior to the concert.

GALAR live @ Inferno Festival 2015
(Photo: Stig Pallesen)

The lineup was rather changed and besides the vocalist responsible for the growls – Marius Kristiansen, I think only A. B. Lauritzen who sang the clean vocals, are the members who performed on stage 4 years ago. Everyone else was ‘fresh’ and I must admit that stage chemistry was not a main advantage for them. I hope that they get the chance to more shows, so this aspect would get improved by the next performance I’d attend. Also, the light guy had a very annoying obsession with strobe lights and that totally ruined the visuals of the show on the stage of that size. But ignoring the visuals, I remembered why I loved so much their show from 2011 – they have fantastic melodies along the brutality of the black metal mad sounds and blasts. It’s such a beautiful mix of clean and harsh vocals and brilliant song structures. Classic (yes, meaning that it’s maybe not the most original sound on the planet), but not boring due the well crafted variations and, again, the mix of beautiful vocals. One will surely hear influences from more known Norwegian act of the genre, but I’m personally much more thrilled by the novelty of Galar’s sounds than by the upcoming album of well known bands with a similar style.

MOMENTUM live @ Inferno Festival 2015
(Photo: Stig Pallesen)

I knew the club evening had an Icelandic bands only, just a few minutes away, so I was a bit surprised realising that the upcoming act, Momentum, is also from Iceland. But I guess the reason they are there is their collaboration with the Dark Essence Records label. It’s less important though. They were a fantastic surprise. At first I was giggling a bit with a friend about the singer’s bad hair day and the cute/dumb/funny face projected on the background, but once I started paying attention to the music, all these details seemed unimportant. The Icelandic trio did a great job of playing the most impossible-to-describe style of metal (or well, of music, since they were not shy of stepping through more genres) ever. So, for my own OCD, I labeled them as Momentum metal. But whatever one decides to call them, it did have the lack of normality meant to make it interesting and make me very curious. I liked the doom’ish gloominess which doesn’t have the predictability of a doom band, because there’s always the interruption of a prettier progressive sound or a rougher and more extreme metal riff or drum beat. I have no clue if they sing sad themes or not, but I don’t think you have time to be sad. There’s way too much to explore and to pay attention too. And the bad hair day vocalist actually has a lovely voice and since I am quite impressed by this aspect, I think their album(s) will start showing up more and more often in my playlists.

KRAKOW live @ Inferno Festival 2015
(Photo: Stig Pallesen)

Kraków is another Bergen based band, is, in my opinion, one of the Norway’s finest bands at the moment. The 2012 release, Diin, was out of this world. And they’r enot far form that with their 2015 album, Amaran, which, as far as I managed to listen to, is meant to make you wonder ‘hmm, how would this sound live?’. I found out on Wednesday – simply brilliant. I totally love how they start like ‘just another band out there’, all quiet and simple and by the end of the song your brains, or better said, your senses, have been carried on such a variety of levels of madness. It is pure madness what these guys are doing on stage and the way they build the atmospheric post-metal sound. They’re not rushing anywhere, they move slowly but surely towards the madness I keep naming. I felt glued to the stage and somehow surprised when they finished the show. It felt like they had just started, even if they have pretty long songs. It’s that kind of show and I thank the band for the minutes of almost eerie atmosphere. These guys will soon tour with Vulture Industries and Arcturus and Seven Impale, so should you attend any of the shows, make sure you don’t skip Kraków.

TAAKE live @ Inferno Festival 2015
(Photo: Stig Pallesen)

The evening ended with Taake‘s presence on stage. The Blå venue is not the biggest in Oslo and Taake has quite a lot of dedicated fans. So I felt a bit sorry seeing the big queue outside and people begging the guards to let them in as soon as one or two more would leave the area. And it was rather packed inside the venue, so I decided, due my sprained ankle, to pick a place on the side of the stage and lean against a heavy door, just to be on the safe side. But this means I didn’t have a good view over the show nor a decent sound to listen to. So I spent a good deal of time watching the photographers getting squashed by the moving masses and how everyone in the first rows almost fell like dominos towards the stage, probably due some other masses moving in the background. It felt painful just to watch them. But it was enjoyable to see the passion of those in the first rows, their mad headbnaging among the expensive photo cameras. Taake is a band with really good stage experience and show that attracts the fans. And that’s about it from my side. My side had also an awful headache that started before the shows and that got way worse due the strobe lights along the evening, so after about three songs I left and hopefully made space for someone who would have enjoyed the concert way more than I did.

I think it’s my 3rd Inferno club evening spent at the Dark Essence label venue, and even if the festival offers such a wide variety of choices for Wednesday, I think the bands at Blå always had that little extra special that makes their shows unforgettable. Already looking forward for their choice of acts for next years’ Inferno.